Leeds refugee charity faces closure as funding dries up

Helping hand: Meeting Point has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers since 2003.
Helping hand: Meeting Point has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers since 2003.
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A LEEDS charity that supports around 150 refugees and asylum seekers every week is facing possible closure due to a serious funding crisis.

The Meeting Point charity - launched in 2003 at Christ Church in Armley - is appealing for businesses and the public to help fund the £60,000 it needs every year to continue operating.

Very often people arrive having experienced trauma in their home countries, including religious or political persecution, war and trafficking.

Rev Arani Sen

Christ Church vicar Rev Arani Sen says Meeting Point has previously received cash from charitable trusts and other funding organisations.

Rev Sen said Government public spending cuts mean the number of organisations applying for cash has increased and there is not enough to go round.

He added: “Despite the obvious help Meeting Point gives to so many, obtaining funding is now very difficult and if sufficient funds aren’t secured within the next six months the project will regrettably be forced to close.

“Due to the size of the project we need to employ three members of staff, along with a large volunteer base.”

Last year 224 adults and their 66 children paid 3,000 visits to the Meeting Point drop-in centre, which served around 3,000 hot meals and distributed almost 2,000 food parcels. A total of 115 people benefitted from English classes and 58 women attended the Women’s Group.

Rev Sen said: “Becaue of Government cuts there is now less money available. Everyone is applying for the same pots of money and the small projects get overlooked. There are too many demands on the funders. We are applying like mad, but we are getting rejection after rejection.

“Very often people arrive having experienced trauma in their home countries, including religious or political persecution, war and trafficking.

“The need is only increasing, particularly as more asylum seekers from war zones arrive in Leeds.”

“We provide a safe space where they can get help and support for day-to-day living.

“We reach aout 150 people a week. If Meeting Point closed it would leave them without help and support. Some of them are destitute. They would be more isolated in society.”

Rev Sen is appealing for anyone who can help to get in touch.

He said: “We hope people will donate funds. We are appealing to businesses, individuals and churches.”

Rev Arani Sen can be contacted via e mail at revaranisen@gmail.com or contact Meeting Point project manager Emma Crossley at emma.c@ccacp.org.uk

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